Young Journalist Award

*This competition is now closed.* 

For updates and announcements on the shortlist and finalists, follow us on Twitter (@thomfound) or sign up to our newsletter.


Our annual Young Journalist Award is a celebration of emerging journalistic talent.

The Young Journalist Award – in partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association – is Thomson Foundation’s annual journalism competition dedicated to finding and inspiring ambitious journalists from across the globe. 

Find the entry form here.

Now in its eighth year, the award enables journalists aged 30 and under, from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $20,000, to send in their best stories.

Judges of the award look for stories that are revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.

Closing date: 14th August 2020

UPDATEWith the Covid-19 crisis evolving rapidly, the problem of international travel and quarantine issues are likely to persist for some time, and progress at different rates in different parts of the world. Should UK restrictions be relaxed by late November, the Foreign Press Association will go ahead with its annual awards ceremony and dinner. However, we cannot  guarantee that we will be able to invite competition finalists to London to attend the awards night. 

We shall keep the situation under review to see what might be possible and will support the three finalists in other ways if travel to London in November is not possible.

Please check back for further announcements. In the meantime, keep safe, and good luck!


Human stories behind the data crunch:

Pakistan's Meiryum Ali was crowned the 2019 Young Journalist Award winner. Find out how she stood out from the competition here.




Related content

  • Putting all people first: Meet the 12 shortlisted Young Journalist stars of tomorrow who mainstream marginalised voices and share difficult truths
  • Nothing but the truth: We shine the spotlight on the work of three Young Journalist winners from Russia, Syria and Sudan who show unprecedented resolve to defend media freedom 

I recommend that journalists under 30 apply for this incredible opportunity! It opened so many doors for me.

Yousra Elbagir, 2016 winner



Meiryum Ali

Winner 2019

Meiryum's work is remarkably different from that of previous winners and a great victory for investigative, data-based journalism. She is the first Pakistani to win the prize.

With a mix of traditional journalistic skills, compelling expression and unmistakable clarity, her explainer video of the complex data connecting former Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari with a high-profile money-laundering case, packs a visual punch.

The video exposé, made for the era of social media, is simultaneously bold, rigorous and humorous. However, it’s Meiryum’s simple, yet honest visual language and masterful treatment of the information that truly reveals her skills as a data journalist. 

See Meiryum's work here.




Alisa Kustikova

Winner 2018

Alisa Kustikova, an investigative reporter from Russia, won the 2018 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award

Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Thomson Foundation said: "Alisa, operating in particularly difficult circumstances, showed particular investigative prowess and covered stories relevant to vulnerable citizens as well as exposing political violations. This was brave, impactful reporting.”  

Alisa showed particular investigative prowess. This was brave, impactful reporting.

Nigel Baker, CEO, Thomson Foundation





Waad Al Kateab

Special Recognition Award 2017

Much of Waad Al Kateab's reporting, broadcast on UK television’s Channel 4 News, was filmed in the emergency room of the Aleppo hospital where her husband, a doctor, worked.

Here she captured unimaginable suffering without intruding  a skill that takes seasoned journalists many years to master. It's this skill that was recognised by the Thomson Foundation, who presented the filmmaker with a special one-off award for Outstanding Coverage of a Continuing Story at the UK Foreign Press Association gala awards.

Her work has been seen by 500 million people. An incredible feat for someone who literally picked up a camera and taught herself.

Jon Snow, presenter, Channel 4 News





Mariana Motrunych

Winner 2017

Exposing potential corruption was the theme of Mariana Motrunych’s reports. She ‘doorsteps’ the Commission’s head, who arrives to work in a shiny new Mercedes, to try and establish his sources of income. In another story, she examines the Ministry of Internal Affairs' practice of giving ‘award weapons’, including machine pistols and rifles, to people outside of government, including journalists.

Corruption costs a lot for all citizens of Ukraine so [international] attention is very important for me.

Mariana Motrunych, Ukraine



Yousra Elbagir

Winner 2016

The Nuba Mountains in the southern Sudanese region has been subjected to a bloody counter-insurgency campaign since fighting broke out in 2011. Yousra Elbagir, a reporter from Sudan, chose to cover the story through the eyes of displaced Nuba in the capital haunted by the bombs raining down in their homeland and struggling to preserve their cultural identity.

It means a lot to the people in my country to have someone represent them who isn't a foreign journalist.

Yousra Elbagir, Sudan



Caroline Ariba

Winner 2015

Caroline Ariba’s submissions for the award included a harrowing description of the plight of mothers in Tisai, a little known Island in Uganda’s Eastern district of Kumi. In this story, Caroline revealed how neglected its people were and how many babies died there without record of their existence. After uncovering the story, political leaders decided to speed up plans for a bridge link to the mainland.

Recognition at this level means everything and the experience of the trip has opened up doors.

Caroline Ariba, Uganda



Maurice Oniang'o

Winner 2014

Always producing with passion, Thomson Foundation's 2014 award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maurice Oniang’o, submitted a portfolio of stories which included a film on child soldiers who guard their village from Ethiopian raiders. In his latest work, he addresses the problem of domestic violence against women in African countries.

The award is encouragement that your effort to bring change in society has received recognition.

Maurice Oniang'o, Kenya



Judy Kosgei

Winner 2013

Words have an incredible power to move us, and as a result, effective storytelling can change society. Judy Kosgei produced a winning story in 2013 on the impact a shortage of sanitary towels was having on up to two million schoolgirls. The story has since brought about a change in the law in Kenya. All Kenyan schoolgirls will now get "free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels", the government has said.

The Young Journalist Award reaffirmed that little voice in my head that said changing lives begins with me.

Judy Kosgei, Kenya





FPA Awards

Watch our 2015 Young Journalist finalists as they attend the FPA Awards in London, along with a host of other award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism.



Call for entries

Journalists working in the developing world and in emerging economies are invited to succeed Pakistani investigative reporter, Meiryum Ali, as the 2020 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award winner. If you are a journalist aged 30 and under working in a country with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than $20,000, you are eligible to enter the award.

The competition will close on 14th August, 2020.

For further information on the competition, email

Link to this year's entry form here

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